Saturday, June 12, 2010

Morning in Sandycove #2

The Ulysses opens at the Martello tower in the small town Sandycove outside Dublin at eight o'clock in the morning.
We visited the place six years ago, one blowing October day.
I'm still shocked by how narrow the place was. Three young men were living there, at least in the novel I now am writing about.
In its absurdity it also becomes very real, because of all the references to places, year, date, even exact hour of the day.

Stephen Daedalus rented this tower from the English government, and for some reason he had let two more or less penniless friends stay there with him. One Oxonian student of Irish culture, an antisemitic by the name of Haines, and an Irish medical student, Buck Mulligan, a mocker of the Church and as the plot goes on, a torturer of his "friend" Stephen Daedalus.
I'm standing in the narrow stairs where all began. Mulligan climbing the stairs as if they led to an altar, only to start a game of spiteful blasphemy.
What started as a friendly student quarreling tongue twisting mocking, ended with young Stephen being forced to hand over the key to the tower to Mulligan, after he had paid for their food.
Lots of symbolism referring to the fact that Ireland was a country suppressed and exploited by the English.

Stephen calls Mulligan an usurper as he leaves the tower, heading for school. He was teaching at the mercy of an unpleasant headmaster, but at least, he made a living there.
One cannot help but be upraised by all the intrigues and foul play among seemingly friends.
This first chapter is called Telemachus, after the son of Odysseus, the one who left his home in Ithaca to go searching for his long lost father. Odysseus had been delayed on his way home from the battle of Troy, and we're going to meet later on .

Stephen may be seen as the modern Telemachus, leaving Erin to look for, not his father, but maybe a more righteous life.
Like the Wild Geese had to flee after James II had lost the Battle of Boyne, thousands and thousands have left their beloved Ireland in flood waves, literally spoken.
America is full of brave Irishmen, who left their country to seek a future and a living overseas.

To me it seems that sympathetic Steven is giving in too easy, but then again, I don't know much about his pre history.


Annie Jeffries said...

Your weaving of your visit to the place you are reading of brings it to life. Your grasp of the various histories and relationships far exceeds mine.

In the end though, I am left to reflect that relationships between young people have not changed too much. I've observed such clashing and bashing too much over these last 20 years at work and I will be happy to be out of it.

Debbie Petras said...

Felisol, I'm impressed by how well read and intelligent you are. Not that I would expect less from you. But this is wonderful. The photos and the story ...keep posting.

Love you,

Felisol said...

Dear Debbie,
I have to disappoint you, I'm neither well read nor particular intelligent.
I just started reading, challenged by
Gunnar, who said,"It's just a novel
critics like to describe as difficult. Read it, and see if I am not right!"
Then Leora from Ruby Tuesday challenged me to, write about my reading,and that's what I'm doing,- in my own illiterate way.
It's fun and it's a slow, relaxing way of enjoying outdoor life.I also have had Gunnar download the book on my i-pod.
It's so cool listening to the book by the sea side.
Guess I am privileged.

Amrita said...

This is like attending a literary criticism cvlass at university.

My sister in law (cousin) who is a senior professor of English Literature at the Alld. University would find this very interesting.

The photos make it all come alive.

I don 't know much of Irish history to this is fresh knowledge for me.